Strike Suit Zero – Director's Cut
Once upon a time there were a lot of space combat games. And they were great. In fact, they were ground-breaking especially in the interactive storytelling department. I grew up on a diet of games like Wing Commander II and TIE Fighter so I have lived this once-upon-a-time and I'll be honest. I do miss those days.
The reminiscent haze clears and I remember that it's 2014 and the space combat game is a rarity in modern gaming. It was a pretty brave move of Born Ready Games then to take to Kickstarter with their Gundam Wing-inspired space combat game Strike Suit Zero. But, everything turned out okay because not only did they achieve funding, both Microsoft and Sony decided that they wanted Strike Suit Zero to be on their consoles.
And as if by magic, in answer to all of my reminiscent prayers, Strike Suit Zero – Director's Cut is born. This is a reworked version of the game, done as much as a fan service to those that have played the crowd-funded PC version as it is an honest attempt to make a definitive version of the game for next-gen console gamers to sink their teeth into.
It includes all 13 missions from the original story campaign reworked and in a slightly different order that Born Ready believes makes more sense plus the additional five missions from the Heroes Of The Fleet downloadable content that was released for the original game.
The story drawns from a variety of familiar sources like Firefly and even Space: Above And Beyond – if you don't remember that TV series you've missed a classic of nineties sci-fi. Just like in Gundam Wing, humanity has colonised space but the colonies have broken away and are at war with Earth. Earth are losing as it seems that the Colonial forces have gotten their hands on a devastating new weapon called the Relic. The scattered forces of Earth must band together and fight a guerilla war in order to find a way to take down the Relic.
This is where you come in. You're former crack pilot, recalled to active duty to bolster the ranks in order to take on the Colonial forces. You're sent on an urgent escort mission and during that mission you get your hands on an experimental new weapon called the Stike Suit. This is a hybrid craft that can transform from a powerful and agile armed suit to a swift and well-armed starfighter to cope with a variety of different tactical situations. There are other fighters to choose from and some missions enforce a different choice but the Strike Suit is easily the most fun tool at your disposal.
It's all very Gundam-01 but it's surprisingly good fun. The default state of the craft is the fighter form and players earn Flux the energy to transform into the armed suit by engaging in combat and taking down enemy ships. Once there's enough Flux energy players can switch between fighter form and suit form at the touch of a button, immediately changing the dynamic of the combat usually to their advantage.
Strike Suit Zero is a wonderfully dynamic experience. Born Ready Games has created a very intuitive control scheme making full use of the triggers and analogue sticks putting velocity and weapon control at the left and right finger tips respectively. The modified FPS thumbstick scheme gives a brilliant sense of agility and weight to the combat.
Space is a beautiful place tool. There's always some kind of spectacular backdrop from local planets to the murky mist of a nebula and these add tactical considerations as well as exquisite scenery. Nebulas interfere with targetting systems which forces you to modify your weapon loadouts accordingly. It's not just the scenery that is impressive though. The ships have all been remodelled and sharpened up for the new 1080p platforms and they look great making the game's third-person perspective all the more worthwhile.
The final touch to the game, for those that lean towards a competitive experience over a narrative one are online leaderboards and some very demanding score targets to earn medals and unlocks like new ships, weapon systems or upgrades. It's not a full-blown multiplayer mode but mutliplayer would make Strike Suit Zero an entirely different and potentially less enjoyable experience.
Yes, I may be striken by a touch of nostalgia but Born Ready Games have managed to create an enjoyable experience with Strike Suit Zero. It's fast, it's fluid and it definitely harks hack to the space combat experiences of old. They've managed to capture the spirit of classic games like TIE Fighter or Wing Commander and flavour them with their favourite sci-fi of the last 20 years and it's a joy to behold. Besides, what's cooler than flying space robots...
Strike Suit Zero - Director's Cut is available to download now on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
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